Chinese paddlers extend their reign

Chinese paddlers extend their reign

Chinese paddlers extend their reign

 China completed their sweep of the table tennis gold medals at the Rio Olympics on Wednesday after their men's team defeated Japan 3-1 in the final.

With the win, the Asian powerhouse has now won 28 out of 32 golds awarded since table tennis became an Olympic sport in 1988.

The experience and skills of the Chinese team, who included Olympic individual champion Ma Long, singles silver medallist Zhang Jike and world number three Xu Xin, ultimately proved too hard to crack for Japan.

But Japan, who celebrated their first ever medal in the men's team event, did not settle for silver without a fight.

After Koki Niwa dropped the opening singles match quickly to Long, Jun Mizutani defeated Xin in a thrilling 3-2 battle of spins and smashes to tie the score at 1-1.

Though Japan's Maharu Yoshimura and Niwa claimed the first game of their doubles match against Jike and Xin, they were unable to capitalise as they lost the tie 3-1. Chinese team captain Long then wrapped up the win by crushing Yoshimura 11-1, 11-4, 11-4.

Reflecting the charged nature of the evening, China's team coach Liu Guoliang, who has calmly watched his players with arms folded for most of the Olympics, was on his feet shouting and cheering each point won.

The men's team final concluded the Olympic's table tennis programme in Rio, where China also won gold for the men's and women's singles events and the women's team event.

Coach Liu, while holding the Chinese flag in celebration, said he had told his players that he was extremely pleased with their performance.

Earlier on Wednesday, Germany beat South Korea to take bronze, with Timo Boll playing through an injury to win the deciding match.

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